Frogs and toads tend to breed in late winter and early spring, but this year it seems the breeding season has been later than usual. However, that time is upon us now and a pond full of croaking frogs, clumps of frog-spawn or the sight of tadpoles makes for a wonderful show.
Frogs are fascinating creatures. They congregate in ponds to breed and it is one of the best times to see them in daylight, as usually they are most active at night. It is the males that call and the sound of them can fill the evening air in early spring.
The best known sign of successful mating is the mat of spawn that lies just under the surface of ponds and as it develops it is great draw for children and adults alike. Eventually the tadpole stage arrives and ultimately young frogs mature.
How to tell a frog apart from a toad ? The broad ridge on the back of a frog is one give-away, but colour is less helpful. Frogs come in a range of colours from yellows and greens through to browns and greys, but one consistent is the black blotches as is the darker patch of skin around the ear region.
How can we help frogs ? A garden pond can be a real boon to frogs, as are compost heaps. And being mindful of the harm garden pesticides can cause is another help, and it is worth bearing in mind that frogs (and toads) can be a real help to a gardener by eating good numbers of slugs.
Why not find out more about Scotland’s amphibians by reading our Naturally Scottish online booklet – Amphibians and Reptiles.